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Call for Papers

(Updated Feb. 22, 2019)

Imagining Futures in the Asia Pacific Region

The 1st International Conference on Asia Pacific Ethnology and Anthropology (ICAPEA)

Online Registration:  Please click the following link or scan the QR code for online registration.

The 1st International Conference on Asia Pacific Ethnology and Anthropology (ICAPEA)

May 20-24, 2019

Yunnan University, Kunming City, Yunnan Province, P. R. China

The 1st International Conference on Asia Pacific Ethnology and Anthropology (ICAPEA) is being organized by the School of Ethnology and Sociology, Yunnan University, on May 20-24, 2019. ICAPEA provides an intellectual platform for scholars who conduct research in the Asia Pacific region to share cutting-edge research and debate pressing topics of theoretical and broader social concern that are important to the region. This forum is intended as an interdisciplinary conference that reaches across the boundaries of ethnology, anthropology, sociology, political science, history, economics, and other social science and humanities fields, and scholars from any related field are invited to submit an abstract. Proposals for both individual papers and panels/symposia will be considered.

The inaugural theme of the First International Conference on Asia Pacific Ethnology and Anthropology will be “Imagining Futures in the Asia Pacific Region.” This is a pivotal moment in the history of the Asia Pacific region, with a global realignment of power dynamics that are playing themselves out in both large and small scales across the region. For example, China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) imagines a future in which the centrality of the Han dynasty and the legacy of the Silk Road is brought back from the ancient past into the near future—including the development of an “ocean silk road” that would span the Asia Pacific. The effects of this policy are being felt both far and near through infrastructure development and political re-orientations. As another large-scale example, the increasing importance of “regionalism” as an imagined form of post-nationalism underpins the formation and goals of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), imagining a sort of ‘European Union of Asia.’ These larger-scale movements are countered by a global rise in populism, which generally seeks to return sovereignty to local communities. Within the Asian Pacific, sovereignty movements in Hawaiʻi embody competing visions of what Hawaiian sovereignty would entail politically and who would be included (only Native Hawaiians, all naturalized Hawaiian subject descendants, etc.) in these eventual post-colonial political entities. Communities in Papua New Guinea grapple with dramatic changes that came with the introduction—and in many places eventual abandonment—of large scale mines. Transpacific diasporic communities transgress these regional-local distinctions as they thrive in California and reach back to influence religious and political life in their ‘homelands,’ such as Vietnamese Caodaism, or Hmong diasporic religious and cultural activists. At the foundation of all of these important developments are particular imaginations of the future that underpin them. These imagined futures affect policy planning and implementation, social responses to these policies, identity movements, development work, conflict and conflict resolution, cultural revitalization movements, and on and on. And of course these imagined futures are deeply connected to the imagined histories with which they make up larger scales of temporal imagination.

The theme of this inaugural conference is meant to inspire (rather than limit) papers that consider these myriad developments at this important and seemingly transitional historical moment in the region. Examples of relevant topics for paper and symposium proposals may include, but are not limited to:

· China’s “ Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) and its effect on the Asia Pacific region

· Indigeneity; Sovereignty; Ethnic Minorities; Indigenous rights, histories, and futures

· Temporal imagination in Asia Pacific communities

· Development, including local critiques of and responses to development

· Political realignments and imagined futures

· Climate change and environmental protections, policy, and effects on communities

· Utopian and apocalyptic movements (both secular and religious)

· Globalization, transnationalism, and regionalism

· De-colonialization and de-occupation

· Cultural revitalization movements in the Asia Pacific region

Conference Location:

Yunnan University, Green Lake Campus, Kunming City, Yunnan Province, P.R. China

Important Dates (updated):

April 1, 2019                Workshop Proposal Abstracts Due (for both panels and papers)

April 7, 2019 Acceptance Notification / Letter of Invitation (for visa purposes)

May 10, 2019 Submit paper manuscripts for discussants and conference participants

(Conference papers can be submitted in either English or Chinese)

May 20-24 Conference

                                     May 20: Arrival and Check-in at Yunnan University Hotel

                                     May 24: Kunming City Cultural Tour


May 25-31 Optional post-conference tour (see below)

Submission Instructions:

Please send paper/panel proposals as a Microsoft Word document, including a title, abstract, author’s name(s), institutional affiliations, to ;

For panel proposals, please submit a title and abstract (describing the scope and unifying issues that span the individual papers) for the panel, along with the names and institutional affiliations of the panel organizer(s), as well as titles, abstracts, names, and affiliations for each individual paper on the panel. Please include all of this information in a single Word document.


Conference organizers plan to arrange a publication series consisting of papers selected from the conference submissions. All papers accepted to the 2019 ICAPEA conference are eligible for consideration for publication in this series of edited volumes and special issues. We will consider submissions in both English and Chinese. Venues for publication for this series may include edited volumes with academic presses or special issues of various journals, including the newly established journal, Current Ethnology, or the established Journal of South-West Frontier Studies. The Journal of South-West Frontier Studies is a CSSCI journal that is peer-reviewed and open-access, including both on-line and printed formats. Current Ethnology is a newly established English-language journal that is intended to be a premier outlet based in Asia for ethnological and anthropological scholarship. Both journals are hosted in the School of Ethnology and Sociology, Yunnan University. Presenters who wish their work to be considered for publication in the series can so indicate by emailing the conference organizers at

Registration Fee:

1. Conference fee:

Recent generous funding from the Yunnan University School of Ethnology and Sociology has allowed us to waive the registration fee for the conference. Free meals and one-day city cultural tour included.

2. Hotel Charge:

40 USD or 280 RMB per night (for a room with two beds) at Yunnan University Hotel or hotel near the campus. Hotel rooms will be reserved by the organizers for registered conference participants and rooms can be paid for on arrival by conference participants. Hotel requests will be processed with the conference registration form after abstracts are accepted. Hotel rooms cannot be guaranteed for conference participants who do not register early.

3. Optional Post-Conference Tour:

Time: May 25-31, 2019

Cost: Approximately $600USD or 4100 RMB. The final price will be determined based on the number of participants. Please sign up before May 10, 2019, allowing time for finalizing travel arrangements. We will inform you of the precise fee and method of payment after we collect the registration information and make the final arrangements with the travel agent.

The optional post-conference tour will include a 7-day tour of Yunnan province after the conference, including Dali and Lijiang Ancient towns, Yu-long snow range national glacier park, and outer Tibet (Shangri-La, or Deqen). The tour group will visit different minority villages in north-west Yunnan highland area, including Bai, Naxi, and Tibetan, as well as the largest Tibetan monastery outside of the Tibetan Autonomous Region.


General Chair

Ming HE, Distinguished Professor and former Dean, School of Ethnology and Sociology, Yunnan University

Program Chair and Chief Organizer

David Teng Yue MA, Distinguished Professor, Chief Specialist of Asia Pacific Studies Program, School of Ethnology and Sociology, Yunnan University


Lorenz GONSCHOR, Associate Dean and Senior Lecturer in Pacific studies at ‘Atenisi University, Nuku‘alofa, Kingdom of Tonga, and Affiliated Researcher of the School of Ethnology and Sociology at Yunnan University

Jacob R. HICKMAN, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Brigham Young University, and Fulbright Senior Research Scholar, School of Ethnology and Sociology, Yunnan University

Alexander MAWYER, Associate Professor at the Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Editor of The Contemporary Pacific: A Journal of Island Affairs

Publication Chairs

Tarcisius KABUTAULAKA, Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Editor of The Pacific Islands Monograph Series

Jun HE, Professor, School of Ethnology and Sociology at Yunnan University, and Editor of the newly established journal, Current Ethnology

Ling Fei ZHU, Professor, School of Ethnology and Sociology at Yunnan University, and Editor of the Journal of South-West Frontier Studies

Contact Information:

Email: ; (please make sure your e-mails will be sent to both conference e-mail accounts)

Conference assistants: Li MA; Cheng Peng KE, Austin SMITH

For updated information and to download registration forms, please visit: